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Algal Revolution - Could it Save Farming?

AUSTRALIA - Increasing food prices and pressure on global reserves, could spell the end for biofuels production from cultivated crops.Although biofuel crops are only partly to blame for skyrocketing food prices, critics are branding them a crime against humanity.

But the dilemma, biofuels or food, disappears as soon we turn our intention to the humble seawater algae, says a reprot for Science Alert. They are not only a potential source of biofuels. Algae are at the base of the marine food web and can also be used for human consumption or as animal fodder. And whatever we do not use can easily be converted into very good fertiliser. Growing algae on barren land may indeed offer a new agricultural revolution and Australia could be at its forefront, earning a good deal from carbon credits.

The world seems blinded by its desire for high-tech solutions. We may be better off adopting large volume, low-tech solutions which any farmer can understand and implement. If they grew algae for fuel, food, feed and fertiliser production farmers could become less dependent on fossil fuels, expensive fertilisers and dwindling fresh water sources. Farmers could also grow fish with the algae on barren land while continuing to grow food crops on fertile parts of their property. Australia’s salinity issue could also be addressed by providing salt water drainages and enabling targeted afforestation.

Unlike in the open sea, we have some control over what we grow in basins or ponds on barren land. This is the basis of my Greening Method (patent pending). As we grow the algae in saltwater ponds, the water will evaporate and this may offset soil humidity loss on nearby land sufficiently to enable vegetation growth. We can also use the grown algae to improve soil fertility and quality. And, once vegetation takes hold, we are ready to grow a new agroforestry mix.

View the ScienceAlert story by clicking here.

Ellen Hardy

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